Fish out of water tales have been around since people first started telling stories, and there have been multitudes of examples in which this concept is used to a great effect. (Fievel!) But The Cosmopolitans, one of the projects in Amazon Studios’ third Pilot Season, does so little with this idea (or anything else) that I soon became jealous of the fish still in the water, where things actually happen. I get that I’m not the ideal audience for a series like this, but it's a not a good sign that I'm so enthused about that fact.
The Cosmopolitans was created by acclaimed writer/director Whit Stillman, who was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar for his 1990 debut Metropolitan, and it’s just the sort of thing that one would expect from him: a dialogue-driven journey following people who speak and act as if they stepped out of a 19th century time machine. Romance is the hook here, as our motley gang of loners each approach love and lust from different angles, all of them trite and basically uneventful.
Adam Brody plays Jimmy, an American expat who’s been living in Paris just long enough to consider himself a Parisian, an opinion he expresses as often as the wind blows. His buddy Hal (Jordan Rountree) is a schmuck whose girlfriend Clemence dumped him but is still stringing him along via text messages. Sandro (Adriano Giannini) is an Italian who talks as if he’s a Casanova but is obviously in the same loser scenario as the rest of them. Finally, there’s Aubrey (Carrie MacLemore), an Alabama girl living in her ex’s apartment while he’s out of the country. They all want to be socialites, but have none of the personality or friendly connections to help them along.
Except for Fritz (Freddy Åsblom), a friend of Hal's who is presented as a bit of a scumbag but is clearly the only character willing to move on his motivations. He holds a party at his parents’ massive home, where our blahsome foursome shows up and generally has a good time before it all gets mucked up. Also starring are Chloë Sevigny as a fashion designer who rightly sees these three guys for the wanks they are, and Dree Hemingway (of the famed family), who plays Jimmy’s momentary love interest.
Like a pretentious version of No Sex and the City, The Cosmopolitans suffers from dull and awkwardly presented conversations, one-note characters and a storyline that does essentially nothing beyond make Americans look sort of goofy in the presence of Europeans, who aren’t presented any better. Wake me when somebody starts putting wine in keg form, because this is not what a pilot is supposed to be.
As with the other Pilot Seasons, your duty is to watch the show here and then give it a rating at the bottom of the page. While excellent ratings don’t necessarily mean the show will get a full season, Amazon execs definitely take them into consideration. So spread the word!